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Playing For Cheats
“This kid really can do it all. He can hit, steal, field, and has a great arm. Finally a great outfielder, with a big heart and a big arm” I read the quote from the Arizona Sun aloud to my parents. While playing college baseball I broke many records at Arizona State. Now nearing the major league baseball draft day, my hands shook and quivered as I touched the door to the draft room. Waiting and anticipating I finally heard it.
“With the third pick in the 2008 MLB draft the Oakland Athletics select Barry Kilner, from Arizona State.”
“Wow!” I said quietly to myself.
Walking to the podium I turned to my mother and said “Hey Mom Oakland has the player on them that I grew up worshiping, they have José, mom I don’t think you understand how he will improve my game.”
Arriving the first day, with was just like the first time I ever help a bat in my hands. I was 2 years old and I just happened to pick up my fathers bat. I grabbed the bat and I knew then that I could be something special. My dad told me he had butterflies the first time he saw me hold a bat in my hands. If only he knew how mine felt right now.
“What’s up kid, hear you’re supposed to be the best thing that happened to baseball since Wheaties,” José said jokingly, “I’m José Lopez.”
“Yeah I know who you are, I watch your games all the time,” I said with a big smirk. My hand shook with nervousness as I shook the legends hand. When I looked at José he was just looking at me as if I was an idiot. For all of spring training José was just like a brother to me. He showed me how to do everything. Throughout spring training we would always joke around about how much better I was going to be than he is.
He would always say “Oh, okay kid.” After we were formally introduced we were always seen together. My rookie season just took off. Playing everyday with the talent I was playing with was rubbing off onto me, and announcers were always talking about us, but mostly about me.
“The A’s are looking good right now and are just a few games out of playoffs and their best player is surprisingly the rookie sensation Barry Kilner who is leading them like he has been playing in the bigs for a long time. We know what fans are wondering. Where is José Lopez at?” We were wondering this too. Just missing playoffs I was very disappointed.
Upset with my power numbers I asked José if he could help me out with that. “Yo José you know of anyway I can improve my power game, I would love to hit homeruns like you.”
“Yea man I got something for you,” he tossed me a bottle with pills in it.
“Take those from now until spring training and you will see results.” He wasn’t lying I saw results but my batting average dropped. It went from a .314 my rookie year to a .279 in my second year, nearly dropping 40 points.
“José these things are hurting my average but I can’t stop taking them because with our power numbers combined we just can’t stop winning.” This was true until playoffs when we had a disappointing exit from the first round of playoffs.
In the offseason the city seemed abandoned and no houses were for sale.
“Hey kid you need a place to stay,”
“Yea that would be great, but only until I can find my own place,” I replied.
Jose was still so much bigger than me. At first I thought nothing of it, “oh he is older so his muscles are more developed,” I would always say. The older José got the stronger he seemed to get, which I thought to be very strange. I decided to ask José one day how he was getting so big so fast.
José said, “Don’t worry about it kid, but it would help you out a lot.”
“Oh yea how would it help me out, I am a pretty good player as it is now,” I answered.
“Let’s just say it would boost your power numbers to places you can’t even imagine.” This was something that I had to definitely think about because although I am an amazing player, I did want to improve on my home runs. With more home runs it would bring more runs batted in and give my team a better chance to win.
It started with just supplements, but those weren’t giving me the results that I expected to see. I was crushing them and putting them into my drinks because I’m not very good at swallowing pills. I was getting bigger but I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.
“Hey these supplements aren’t doing anything for me, I mean look at the size of you compared to me, I am still no where near as strong as you.”
José told me “just keep taking them and he would get me something to help make me bigger.”
Although I didn’t think that it was doing anything for me I gained 20 pounds and hit 11 more homeruns. The fans were very excited about my new success. That year I hit 32 homeruns and batted in an amazing 129 runners, and was also voted to my first all star game. José kept giving me better and better stuff.
My success kept growing and growing. I was now making the all-star team year after year, and was about to break the single season home run record. I had around 50 homeruns over the past 5 seasons, but it was nothing like this.
Announcers were saying “We knew this guy broke records back in college but we didn’t expect him to carry it on into the big leagues, I mean this guy only needs one more homerun to break the single season homerun record. That is just amazing.”
The analyst were all saying “tonight could be the night; we may witness one of the great records in baseball being broken.”
“Hey rookie,” José said “You going to tear that record apart tonight right?”
“I am just worried about the game right now man,” I replied. Every announcer in the business was talking about this night.
“We’re here in Oakland where your Oakland A’s take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a night that could be a night to remember.” Through the first five innings I was 0 for 1 with two intentional walks. I was coming up for the fourth time in the next half inning.
“We aren’t going to give you anything to hit,” the catcher said as I kicked dirt around in the batters box.
“Understandable, I guess ill just have to wait for someone who isn’t a little girl that will pitch to me.” I got walked again. The ninth inning was my last chance of the game to finally break that record against our rivals.
“You’re still not going to get anything to hit kid,” the catcher taunted. The first pitch was a brush back pitch that startled me
“Whoa that was a little close to my face.”
“Yea you’re probably going to get another,” the catcher replied. Although the catcher taunted me with this, I actually got a pitch that I could hit. And hit it I did.
“Look at that ball go, way back, way back, and GONE, a home run!” “Barry Wilson just broke the single season home run record,” The announcer yelled in excitement.
Through the next couple seasons steroids started to become a big deal in the game. Everyone was getting accused of taking them, especially me. José had already had tested positive, and retired from the game of baseball and was now the biggest helper in finding others who had taken steroids. Naturally the first person that José pointed the finger at was me.
“I helped Barry not only get the steroids, but I even injected them into him sometimes,” he explained. The press had a field day with this new news.
The headline was “Sun Devil Gone Wrong?” I was extremely worried about this whole thing. Deep down I knew that I did take the steroids, but I have yet to be tested for them. If I was to be tested I would fail the test for sure.
“Barry,” coach Aaron yelled. “Come into my office,” he said with a worried look on his face, “The players association is making it mandatory for everyone to take a drug test.” I walked out of his office knowing that my big league career could very possibly be over.
Today was the day that I had been dreading for a very long time. Today was my day to be tested for steroids. I knew that the test would show up positive. That day came and sure enough I did test positive. I knew that I was in deep s*** now; my big league career could be over. I was suspended for the rest of the season. This was not even the worst part of my troubles. I failed a test for steroids again and to my surprise they banned me. I had no idea what to do with my life now. I didn’t finish college so I had nothing to fall back onto. I was so stupid to ever take steroids. I was a fine player before I took the steroids, I don’t even know what the point of taking them was.
Over the next couple years I just have been working at my dad’s company, moving boxes; but that’s not what I wanted to be doing I checked the computer for ban rules. This says that it is a four year ban from the MLB, but it didn’t say anything about the minor leagues. I called around to some teams and only two were having open tryouts where I could try to get back into baseball. They were the Erie Sea wolves, and the Montgomery Biscuits. Erie is the Detroit Tigers AA team, and Montgomery is the Tampa Bay Rays AA team. I made Erie after the first tryout. I met the best coach that I had ever played for while playing for Erie. His name was coach Hank. Coach Hank was the reason that I got back into the game of baseball. Hank helped me work very hard to get back in shape to play the game of baseball again. I worked extremely hard and I did get back into the game and back into the major leagues, and I finished my career with the Tigers. I made a very bad decision in my life, which was to take steroids and it came back to bite me in the a**. Now through hard work and determination I got back into the game and finished up my career without cheating by taking steroids. I will never take steroids again.